Category Archives: recipe organizer

Why Create A Family Cookbook Project?

We asked the editors of the Family Cookbook Project “Why did you create your family cookbook project?”

Of the more than 2,000 editors who responded to the survey, here are the most popular reasons given to start of family cookbook:

70% To save family recipes for future generations

35% To create one source for all my recipes

34% To give as gifts

22% To bring my family together

20% Because it was fun

Comments most often included the cookbook was used to honor a mother or grandmother and help keep their memory alive after their passing.

Here are a sample of some of the other comments we received about why they began a family cookbook project.

Fundraiser to help the church update the fellowship hall.

Special gift for my son and new daughter in law for their bridal shower.

Wedding Favors

I needed a central location for all my recipes.

To make these recipes available to more people in my family.

Everyone would always tell me to write a cookbook !!

My son and family gave it to me as a gift and now I do want to save the family recipes for future generations

Fundraiser for my son’s school in Arlington Tx.

To bring co-workers together.

It helped my sister and I have something to do together with miles separating us. It also helped us for us on the positive things in our lives as my brother in laws health was failing.

To honor a deceased friend who was a great cook.

The first cookbook was as a wedding celebration gift for a young member of our family. The purpose of the second cookbook was multi-factoral: 1) we wanted to create an archive/bank for family recipes and photos that were being hoarded by some family members, 2) we wanted to bring the family together, 3) we wanted to create enthusiasm for a family reunion, 4) we wanted to subtly remind family members that all our ancestors were immigrants., hoping to dampted the mean-spirited banter about immigrants that would have been antithetical to all our ancestors’ values.

To celebrate our town’s 100 year anniversary.

It was started because someone that I cared about was deployed to Afghanistan. He loved to cook so I told him that I would send him a recipe a day until he was back on American soil. He loved it and sometimes would write about some changes he wanted to make to a recipe. We were going to print it when he got back. I now want to put together a family cookbook because I found how easy it was.




Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!


How To Write A Great Recipe

Whether you are writing down a family favorite, starting a food blog, or entering a recipe contest, learning how to properly write a recipe is a valuable skill any food lover can use.

Here are a few standards and general rules of thumb we at suggests when it comes to writing a recipe.  It is important to accurately communicate the ingredients and process, so your recipe can be recreated by others.

Before the ingredients, comes the title, number of servings and serving size if appropriate. Then the ingredient list and the preparation directions. The final area allows you to provide helpful comments on your recipe.

Recipe Title:

  • This is the  name of your recipe using words that accurately describe the dish.  Feel free to have a little fun and make it catchy!  You want people to keep reading and be inspired to make the recipe themselves. See our post How to Write A Great Recipe Title to learn more about recipe titles.

The Ingredient List:

  • List all ingredients in order of use, as described in step-by-step instructions.
    List the most important ingredients first, if it can be consistent with order of use.
  • Spell out everything: tablespoons, ounces, etc. or use commonly accepted abbreviations which can be inserted from the drop down menu on the “Add a recipe” page.
  • If the recipe has different parts (for example, a pie has a crust and a filling), break up the ingredient list with headings such as “Crust” and “Filling” using the multi-part recipe option on your “Add a recipe” page.
  • When several ingredients are used at the same time (in the case of baking, often all the dry ingredients are sifted or mixed together at once), list them in descending order according to volume. If there is an issue over preparation, list in order, so for example if you need the zest and juice of a lemon, list the zest first and then the juice since that is the order you will do the preparation.
  • Do not use two numbers together. You need to set off the second number in parenthesis. This comes up with sizes of packages. For example, “1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese.”
  • If an ingredient begins with a letter instead of a number, freshly ground black pepper, for example, capitalize the first letter, as in “Freshly ground black pepper.”
  • If the preparation of an ingredient is simple, place that technique in the ingredient list, as in “2 eggs, beaten” or “1 stick butter, softened.”
  • If an ingredient is used more than once in a recipe, list the total amount at the place in the ingredient list where it is first used, then add “divided.” In the method part of the recipe, indicated the amount used at each step. For example “1 cup all-purpose flour, divided” then in the method “Sift 3/4 cup of the flour with the…” and later “Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of flour on top of…”
  • Use generic names of ingredients (semi-sweet chocolate chips, not “Tollhouse chips”.


  • Where helpful, indicate the size of bowls and cookware. For example, “In a large mixing bowl….”
  • You do not have to write complete sentences. Be as short and concise as possible.
  • With instructions for the stove-top, indicate level of heat. For example, “Simmer over low heat.”
  • State exact or approximate cooking times, with descriptive hints for doneness, if appropriate. For example, “Sear 1 minute on each side,” and “Bake 18-22 minutes, or until crust is light golden brown.”
  • As in the ingredient list, if there are different elements to the recipe, as with the crust and filling of a pie, separate out each element in the method. Begin with the crust and write a header “For the Crust” and give the method. Then do “For the Filling” and give filling instructions. This is done automatically using the multi-part recipe option at
  • Separate each step into a different paragraph. If you are mixing dry ingredients in a bowl, for example, use one paragraph for all the instructions for that step.
  • Finish with serving instructions including how to plate, what temperature to serve, how to garnish.
  • The last instruction can be regarding storage, if applicable. For a cookie recipe, for example, “Cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-4 days.”


  • Use this area to communicate anything additional information someone would need to know to recreate your recipe at home.
  • You can also offer ideas for alternate ingredients, tips, or serving suggestions.
  • You also can use this area to tell a story about this recipe and the meal that is was introduced to the family.
  • Source your recipes in the comments field. If you got your inspiration from a magazine or cookbook, or lift a recipe from a blog or website, you should give them credit.  This goes for recipe photos as well.  Never use images without the owners consent.
  • Especially if you are posting your recipe online, it is important to include the name, source and webpage of the original recipe. State if the recipe is “Adapted from”: Which means you made minor changes to ingredients and/or preparation technique. or “Inspired from”: Which means you used the stated recipe as a guide or inspiration for your own recipe which may include some of the same ingredients and techniques.
  • Food bloggers:  If you are sharing a recipe from your own blog, this field is a great place to put in a link back to your site!

Time and Servings:

  • Preparation time includes all the measuring, chopping and other preparation of ingredients.
  • Cooking time refers to the total time the food takes to cook, including any preliminary cooking needed.
  • Remember, these times are just a guide for the reader.  Try to be generous with the timing, someone making the recipe for the first time will take longer that you who has experience making it.
  • Also, include the number of servings based on reasonable portions.


  • Try to include a photo of the finished product. There is nothing better for people to see the food they are about to prepare that what it will look like when complete.
  • A popular trend today is to create videos of yourself making the recipe. Remember to pause the camera or to cut extra footage so the final video is not too long to watch.



Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Cookbooks for Kids

One of the reasons we works so hard on a family cookbook is to preserve our favorite recipes for future generations. It is equally important to help that next generation develop a love of good food and cooking at an early age. That is why Family Cookbook Project created a simple cookbook just for the kids in your life.

Kids Cookbook Project lets you create your own customized cookbook for the special little one in your life. Simply enter your  child’s name and choose boy or girl and immediately preview them in their own special personalized Cookbook! We will then print your full color customized, personalized kids cookbook. It’s just $24.95.

Keep Kids Interested in Reading …put them in the story! Every child loves a story. A good story helps them to explore their imagination. A great story has them as the main character and holds their interest in reading. That’s what we do! …Kids Cookbook Project makes great stories about children with your child as the main character. And we make it easy and simple to do …as simple as 1-2-3.

As the holiday’s approach, this would make a great personalized gift for the youngsters in your life. To learn more and to order. visit Kids Cookbook Project.



Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Holiday Printing Deadlines for Family Cookbook Project

The holidays are right around the corner and family cookbooks make a great gift for family and friends – and it is the busiest time for Family Cookbook Project in terms of printing cookbooks for families.

If you plan to have your cookbooks printed by us and received by Christmas, the deadline to order and make payment is Friday, November 29th. There will be an extended deadline, but expedited shipping will be required. Let us know if we can help!

If you need your family cookbook for Hanukkah, the print deadline is Friday, November 15th.

So get your contributors to submit their final recipes and start reviewing everything to get your cookbook ready to print before the holiday deadline to have a wonderful family heirloom to share for generations.

Organizing your recipes in your Personal cookbook

Over the past 15 years, Family Cookbook Project has continually updated its software to meet the needs of you, our cookbook editors. One of the things that we have done is make it easy to organize your recipes as much as you’d like. This blog post will go over some of the ways you can organize how your recipes appear in your personal cookbook.

Recipe categories

Recipe categories are general classifications that allow similar recipes to be placed together. For example, appetizers or desserts. Here are some of your options for categories in the Family Cookbook Project:

Default categories – when you first start your cookbook, these are the categories that are assigned to every cookbook. They are well thought out and can cover just about every type of recipe you may want to add to your cookbook.

Custom categories – whether you want to add just a single new category or completely redo the categories to best meet your needs, you can use the custom category tool to accomplish this.

Subcategories – One of the newer additions to the software is the ability to add subcategories to your cat. This allows you to group recipes of a specific category under the main, or top-level, category. For example in the default category appetizers and beverages, you may want to create a subcategory for appetizers and a sub category for beverages. That way each type of recipe appears with like recipes.

Recipe sorting

Recipe sorting determines in which order the recipes appear within a category. Here are your options for recipe sorting:

Shortest to longest – this is the default sorting option. It places the shortest recipes upfront so more recipes can appear on a single page. Usually it is the most cost-effective way to organize your recipes.

Alphabetical – this is a very popular way to sort your recipes. The titles are organized alphabetically so that As come before the Bs and so on.

Custom Sort – One of the coolest additions to the software is the ability to sort your recipes anywhere you want. This tool will show you a list of all your recipes and you can move them to the location and it makes sense to you.

How you sort your recipes is completely up to you. Family Cookbook Project just wants to make sure you have the tools you need to create the perfect personalized cookbook.

Sample of the custom sort tool

Bill Rice is the Co-Publisher at Family Cookbook Project which helps individuals and fundraising groups create cherished personalized cookbooks using the power of the Internet. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Recipe Standard Measurements


For many generations, recipes were handed down by word of mouth from mother to daughter. Recipes consisted of a little of this and a smidgin of that. The food always came our great – or at least that is what we told out mothers! Today things are different. Computers make is easy to write down our recipes and share them with friends and family members over the Internet. However it is important to remember that cooking has a language of its own. It is a language of ingredients and measurements and directions. I believe the most important of these is measurements. If we did not have standard measurements for cooking, “T” could be a teaspoon, a tablespoons, a thimble full or a truck load! Here are a list of Standard Measures Abbreviations commonly used in recipes.

teaspoon……………………… tsp.
tablespoon…………………… tbsp. or T.
cup…………………………….. c.
quart…………………………… qt.
ounce…………………………. oz.
pint…………………………….. pt.
gallon…………………………. gal.
inch…………………………….. in.
pound………………………….. lb.
milliliter…………………………. ml
liter……………………………….. L
milligram……………………….. mg
gram……………………………… g
kilogram ……………………….. kg
millimeter……………………… mm
centimeter…………………….. cm
meter……………………………. m
Celsius…………………………… C
Fahrenheit……………………. F

Another important thing about standard measurements is that they don’t work if you don’t use them! Including an ingredient in your recipe without a specific amount is likely to leave someone trying the recipe for the first time scratching their head and wondering what to do. Remember know one will know unless you include it in your recipe.

Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

How Many Recipes Does My Cookbook Need?

spiralbinderclosedOne question every cookbook editor wants to know is how many recipes should my cookbook have? Too many and printing costs are higher, not enough and the cookbook is not as valuable. What’s a family cookbook editor to do?

Looking at the thousands of cookbooks we have printed over the past decade, there is no real number of recipes that make up a good cookbook  – you have what you have.  We have printed cookbooks with just 15 great recipes and as many as 1200!  However, that 1200 recipe book was 750 pages – HUGE!

The average size seems to be around 150 recipes and that is why we use that number in our cost calculator.

When a great cookbook has less recipes, often the editor includes other content to augment the food offerings. Photos of each dish, a section of family photos, a family tree or family stories about people remembered can really add value to a smaller cookbook.

Larger cookbooks can be impressive simply by the number of recipes it contains. However, since printing cost is directly related to the number of pages that need to be printed, it is important to be mindful of your design choices when choosing your layout options.

At the end of the day, your cookbook is exactly that – your cookbook. You need to balance the number and quality of the recipes included with the needs of your family.

Valentine’s Day is for Recipe Lovers!

While the end of year holidays are a great time to give out your cookbooks, there are lots of fun events coming up that make for perfect gift giving.   Whether you’re creating a cookbook with our cookbook and recipe organizing software at or a fund raising project at we make it easy and fun!

Valentine’s Day is in a couple weeks. How about giving your family some food love! You’ll need to order in the next day or two to ensure delivery.

Mother’s Day is coming quickly – May 12th – and it also is one of the best times to have your family cookbook published. Family cookbooks make a great Mother’s Day gift both for the mothers in our lives and even from a mother to her children.

Wedding season is coming, too! How about a family & friends cookbook for a shower or bridal party gift?

Editor Ideas – how to improve your recipes

One of the keys to a great family cookbook is to have great recipes that your family and friends have come to love. Here are some simple tips to help you capture the magic of the food you make.

1. Use catchy titles. Using a catchy title will make your recipe sound more interesting. It is more interesting to people when they see the title “Gooey Triple Chocolate Cake” rather than just “Chocolate Cake”. When you are writing a title for a recipe, try to think of not only what the final dish will be, but what makes it special as well.

2. Include photos. Using images in your recipes can allow the person reading your cookbook to see what the final dish will look like and give then a guidepost to follow. Next time you make one of your special dishes, snap a quick photo and add it to your recipe the next time you log in.

3. Be specific with your Ingredients. For many cooks, include a can of crushed tomatoes in your recipe and they know exactly what you mean or maybe not. Tell them to include a 12oz can of crushed tomatoes and everyone will know exactly what your recipe needs.

4. Use step by step instructions. You might have made this recipe a thousand times, but someone new will need detailed directions for how to do it. Remember to include pan sizes, cooking times, the order that ingredients are added and how to tell when a dish is done. Also adding how many servings a recipe can make will help with meal planning.

5. Add personal notes. One of the things that make a family cooks so important is that it helps to capture the family traditions. Include a note with each recipe about how you first were introduced to the recipe and when it is typically served in your household. It makes the recipe more interesting and more meaningful to later generations.

Featured recipe from the database

The Great Family Cookbook Project has a huge amount of public recipes in the system thanks to you! If you need a fun recipe idea that’s not in your own cookbook, go to our home page and use the search function to see what’s available – lots of good eats!

Here is a recipe we tried recently:

Valentine Truffles

This recipe for Valentine Truffles, by Susan Aitken, is from The Aitken Family Cookbook Project. Search for more great recipes here from over 500,000 in our family cookbooks!


1 1/2 lb semisweet chocolate
3 lbs unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. heavy ream
3 tbsp. coffee liquor or vanilla
dark chocolate and/ or rolling powders as needed


Cut the semisweet chocolate and butter into the smallest pieces you can manage. Place them in a large stainless-steel bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to boil, stirring to avoid burning. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate and butter. Stir until they melt. If they do not quite melt, place 1 inch of water in a frying pan, bring to a boil turn burner off, and place the chocolate bowl in the pan, being careful not to wet the chocolate. Stir until melted. When chocolate is melted whisk in the vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture into a shallow pan, and chill until firm enough to shape. Using hands and a spoon or a melon baller; shape chocolate into small balls. This process may get messy and chocolate tends to melt. Sprinkle hands with cocoa powder or confectioner’s sugar to minimize mess. when balls are shaped, roll some in cocoa powder or in a sifted mixture of instant coffee and confectioner’s sugar and set aside. Pace remaining balls on a butter surface in the freezer to firm for dipping. When balls have firmed, prepare dark chocolate by melting a small amount in the microwave or a double boiler. Dip each ball in chocolate. To be extra festive, melt a bit of white chocolate as well and decorate the tops of the coated truffles.

Number Of Servings:

60 truffles

Chip Lowell is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!